Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile - RunUltra Marathon

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Huntsville, Texas
United States
Rocky Raccoon Trail Run
75F / 24C
Total Time = 20h 54m 24s
Overall Rank = DNF/340
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Wifey and I drove out early Friday to Huntsville from SA. We got there around 4 pm and set up camp (You gotta camp for this race!). Huntsville State Park is really nice and an easy place to camp at. Our new 8 person tent was pretty awesome too. You could stand up in this thing!
Anyway, we picked up my race packet and left my drop bag for DamNation. Went back to camp and started grilling and had a few cold ones, and met Haley (Comet) and her hubby. We also talked to Brandon, who I met off the Tejas Trails website and who was going to pace me on the last lap.
Went to bed early after dinner, around 8 pm or so and then was in and out of sleep until 5 or so. Then got up, had some coffee and oatmeal and a banana, and walked to the start line. This was the point where I was supposed to check my blood glucose before the race, but I plain forgot in the excitement. Mistake #1 for the day.
Event warmup:

Ummm, does the first 20 mile lap count as a warm up?
  • 20h 54m 24s
  • 80 miles
  • 15m 41s  min/mile

Lap 1: 3:39:48 (10:59/mi avg) (6:00 am - 9:39 am)

The beginning was pretty crowded as anticipated. Since it was still dark out I had the headlamp on, and it worked pretty well for being a $20 headlamp. I tried to take it as easy as possible, but it is evident that I went out much too fast for my ultra fitness. I went thru the first aid station and got to DamNation1 at mile 6 and the sun came up around that time so I put my headlamp in my drop bag and took off my jacket. I just had one handheld, and with the aid stations only 3-4 miles apart except one that was 6, it worked pretty well. I was drinking about one bottle of water an hour, and got heed, endurolytes and solid food at each aid station. I had some gel with me in my handheld but I didnt really touch it. Even though there were a few rollers, I didn't walk any of the hills on this lap. That was probably a mistake. Overall I felt great and got back to Dogwood to see wifey.

Lap 2: 4:27:56 (13:24/mi avg) (9:45 am - 2:13 pm)

Stopped at Dogwood and hit the portajohn and took off my shirt as it really began to warm up and I knew it was going to hit the upper 70s by the time the loop was over. I also was trying to avoid the friction on the nips. I was supposed to check my BG at Dogwood but forgot again, and about a mile into Lap 2 I remembered. I had another meter at DamNation, so I would check it there at mile 26 and my BG was 143. This lap I obviously slowed down a bit, and I started walking some of the larger hills (if you can call them that). I was still drinking and eating pretty well and feeling ok. I was grabbing pb&j sandwiches and lots of endurolytes the whole time. My feet really were hurting though. I started out with my Peregrines because of all the trouble I had with my Hokas in the mud at Bandera. But the pain was so much that I felt like I needed some extra cushioning, so I texted wifey to bring my Hokas to Dogwood so I could switch out for Lap 3.

Lap 3: 5:14:44 (15:44/mi avg) (2:17 pm - 7:31 pm)

I put my shirt back on for this lap because I knew by the time I got back it would probably be dark and the temp would go down again, and put on the Hokas. My feet felt immediate relief. I am a believer again! I was to check my BGs again at Dogwood only to forget. I really should have a checklist at each dropbag so I remember what to do! I also picked up my headlamp at DamNation. It was this lap where the miles really started to take their toll on me. The backside of the loop between the two times you hit DamNation, and then the last 4.4 miles from the Park Road aid station back to Dogwood were a struggle. I tried to eat the best I could, picking up ramen noodles and broth, potatoes, cheese quesadillas and the like. I was thinking about pulling the plug here at the end of 3 laps (60 miles) because I couldn't even imagine going 40 more miles. Even though my feet felt better, everything else hurt like hell. My ankles, knees, hips, and back were all killing me. But part of me thought if I could just get back to Dogwood, wifey would pace me through Lap 4 and then I would have Brandon for the last lap and I could make it. I was going back and forth quite a bit, and it was taking a toll on me mentally and emotionally.

Lap 4: 7:31:43 (22:35/mi avg) (7:39 pm - 3:10 am)

I made it back to Dogwood and told wifey that I wasn't sure if I should go back out because I didn't think I could make it the whole way, and I didn't want to make her go through this lap if I wasn't going to finish. As always she was the voice of reason, and said "Let's just get to the first aid station and see how you do."
So I had some ramen noodles and broth, and we went. We were doing something that was just a bit faster than walking but slower than jogging, or "wogging" at this point After about a mile and a half in and I said to wifey "I gotta stop at the aid station, I can't go on." She said ok, let's just get there. So we finally make it and I tell the aid station volunteer that I have to turn in my chip, and they said "WHY?!? You look great! You've got plenty of time! YOU CAN DO THIS!" "Be patient. Take your time and walk when you need to walk and run when you can run. And when that sun rises, it will be the best feeling in the world and you will be extra motivated to finish!" And as lousy as I felt, that pumped me up a bit and I said, OK Let's make it to DamNation. So we went! But another few miles and I was in some serious pain again. I was bumbling and stumbling along, weaving across the trail trying to follow wifey but I kept zoning out. Finally we made it to DamNation1, and I threw in the towel yet again. But the aid station crew would have none of it. Fred, a veteran ultra runner, took me in the tent and warmed me up as I was shivering at this point. He asked what was wrong, and I simply said "I don't think I can take another step." He looked me over, asked me about my hydration and fueling throughout the day, and he checked the skin on my arm (I assume to check how much salt I was losing?). He had me check my BG and it was 139, so all good there. He said that I should sit there for the next 10 minutes and get as many calories in me as possible, and then he was going to send me back out. I didn't really have a say in the matter! That's ok, he gave me some confidence that I could keep going. So I ate 2 cups of ramen, 3 cups of mashed potatos (oh those were so good!), some quesadilla... whatever they were handing me I ate like a starving pygmie. Fred talked to me some more, explained that he had been where I was right now and that every first timer goes through this period. He said running at night is the hardest because your body is telling you that you should be in bed sleeping, and that I shouldn't worry about the pains I was feeling because Hell, I just ran 66 miles and I should be hurting like crazy! I had 2/3 of the run behind me, now I just had to go finish it up. Time wasn't a factor, I could have walked the whole rest of the way and made the 30 hr cutoff. The last thing he said was "The pain you are feeling now is nothing compared to the pain of regret you will feel in the morning if you don't finish. You can do this."
With all that said, how could I not go back out there?? After 10 minutes of massive calorie intake and pep talk, I was back out on the trail.
I actually felt quite a bit better at this point, but it was going to be a long 6.2 miles around the lake and back to DamNation. Wifey and I just took it one step at a time. We actually began to pick things up for a bit, and that 6 miles went by fairly quick even though it was took 2 hours. Back at DamNation it was midnight and I knew we had 8 miles left. 3.5 to the next aid station. I was pretty high in spirits and thought that we could get back and I'd be able to finish the final lap with Brandon. I texted him where I was and my pace so he'd know when to meet me at DogWood. I got some more fuel and off we went. This part of the trail had quite a few more roots, and my legs weren't picking up very high and I was starting to get a little delerious. Same thing was happening to wifey I think, as we were stumbling and tripping over the roots quite a bit more. But we made it to the Park Road Aid station and just had 4.5 miles to get back to Dogwood. I couldn't believe we were really making it!
That's when the wheels really fell off. Those last 4.5 miles were the longest, most painful miles I've ever experienced. I began to get tunnel vision from my headlamp, and I was going in and out of consciousness. I was weaving across the trail, lucky not to fall right off any of the footbridges! Wifey had hurt her leg too from a bad stumble on the roots, and we just did our best to focus on making it back to Dogwood. It was at this point where I think I threw in the towel for good. It took us over 3 hours to get back to Dogwood, and at this rate I figured the last loop would take me 7-8 hours at least, and I didn't have it in me to keep pushing through the pain for that long. We made it back, and that's when I texted Brandon and told him I couldn't go back out. I turned my timing chip into Joyce, and told her I was finished. Just like all the other great people who tried to encourage me to keep going, she asked "Are you sure? You're doing great and have plenty of time." I said I was done, and she said "OK, but if you change your mind come back and I'll get you right back on the course."
This time, I didn't change my mind.

Could I have gone back out and stumbled my way to a 30 hour finish? Looking back I think so. But at the time, I just plain didn't want it bad enough. And once you lose the want, the drive, the need to complete your goal, all is lost. It was the toughest physical and mental challenge I've ever faced, and in the end it was the mental challenge that took me down.

What would you do differently?:

My favorite quote from the race was "Good judgement comes from experience, which often comes from bad judgement."

I made a lot of bad judgements in this race, from going out too fast, not getting enough calories in throughout the day, wearing the wrong shoes for the first 40 miles, and not getting enough physical and mental training in before the race. I was simply not completely prepared for this challenge.

I now have a much greater respect for the distance, and I have more knowledge of what it takes to finish a 100 miler. I think when I come back for my revenge (which I am sure I will!), I will be successful.
Post race
Warm down:

hahahaha. That's a good one. I think I stumbled to the tent and immediately fell asleep.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not fully prepared physically or mentally. Really only put in 3 good months of pure run training. I had some injuries I was working through in late Dec/early Jan, and then I ran Bandera 100K on Jan 12 and pretty much just recovered from that for the rest of the month. It was probably a bad idea but my thought was that if I could get through Bandera, I could get through Rocky. Bandera did give me confidence (maybe too much confidence for my fitness!), but I think ultimately it was the wrong choice 3 weeks before Rocky.
This year 229 people finished out of 340 starts for a 67% finish rate.

The next time I attempt this race, I think I need at least 6-9 months of more of pure running. No tri training or races. Some cross training yes, but most of the hours and time should go to running.

Event comments:

All of Tejas Trails events are 5 star, absolutely the best. Joe is the best RD around, hands down. They are all logistically planned and run very well, and I always have a great time. This race in particular is the highlight of the year. There is a reason it sells out very quickly. If you haven't tried it, you really should! I can't recommend it enough.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-08-06 12:00 AM
20:54:24 | 80 miles | 15m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/340
Performance: Below average
Course: 5 loops of 20 miles each. Fairly flat with a few rollers. Piney woods around Lake Raven, lots of single track and some jeep roads.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? No
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5